Thursday, September 30, 2010

Five Key Trends for Local Economic Development

Leo Vazquez, from the Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, offered some insight into trends we are likely to see in the world of economic development over the next decade that are worth repeating.

Five Key Trends for Local Economic Development in the 2010s

The arts as engines for the creative and experience economies. According to a report to be published soon by Arts Build Communities, there was a 10% jump in the number of people working in the creative sector between 1998 and 2007. Most are probably not artists, but rather the people whose work supports the arts: administrators, blue-collar workers, manufacturers of creative products. The arts are at the heart of two other growing economic trends -- the creative economy and the experience economy. The creative economy includes scientific innovation and cultural products for export (Think Ipads, Droids and the new medicines you see on TV.) The experience economy includes all those retailers, businesses and places people are willing to pay more money to because of the experience they provide. (That's why the Mall of America has an amusement park in the center, and not just more chain stores.)

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Attracting and retaining creative sector professionals through place- and community-building efforts; place marketing efforts; providing more flex space; whether your community feels inviting to creative professionals.

The growth of "free agent" nation. Self-employed workers accounted for about 30% of the job growth in the United States between 1998 and 2008. While the number of employees in businesses grew 10% in that time, the number of self-employed workers grew 26%. (See the County Business Patterns database for more information). In 2008, about 15% of 142.2 million jobs in the United States were held by self-employed workers.

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Business assistance and development strategies targeted to micro-entrepreneurs; live-work spaces clustered in downtown settings; cooperatives, and other structures that help businesses share resources.

Ethnic minority communities as emerging markets. Ethnic minority communities had about 23% of the nation's $10.7 trillion in buying power in 2009, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth. While the total amount of disposable income in the United States had been growing through most of this decade, the buying power of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and multiracial Americans grew faster than that of non-Hispanic Whites. Those trends are likely to increase as the nation gets more diverse.

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Place marketing and business development geared to ethnic communities; developing more culturally competent placebuilding and economic development professionals.

Green industries replacing gray industries. It may be a decade or more before alternative energy producers and manufacturers of green products become a major source of jobs in many communities. Placebuilders who plan for these uses now will have a tremendous advantage. Whether green or gray, industrial uses need large, affordable spaces and the ability to easily move large amounts of goods. (That's why so many 19th and early 20th century factories in city neighborhoods have become loft housing).

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Preserving existing industrial and warehousing areas; landbanking; encouraging the transitional use of light industrial spaces as artisan work/live spaces, server farms, or retail/commercial storage facilities.

Transnational communities as market expanders. From classic port-of-entry cities to small farming towns, continued immigration is having a bigger impact on America. One of those impacts is economic: It is easier for money and goods to flow between countries. Communities that participate in transnational economies can significantly expand their market area while minimizing competition with its neighbors. In an age where the Internet and lower costs in other countries are challenging brick-and-mortar American businesses, this is a way for communities of any size to bring more wealth into its borders.

To take advantage of this opportunity, consider: Building relationships with immigrant groups in and around your community; encouraging the use of light industrial facilities for import, export or assembly of materials; promoting community building efforts that make immigrants feel more welcome in a place.

These trends have influenced our work in crafting a new economic development strategy in Owensboro based largely on talent and quality of place.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Completion construction of bypass extension to start next spring

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the second and final phase of construction on the 2.1 mile U.S. 60 bypass extension will start next spring with a May bid letting. That means the entire project could be done by mid to late 2013.

Phase I construction from U.S. 60 East to Hwy. 144 began last year and is expected to be completed by late 2011. The entire project has been largely funded by federal transportation dollars.

Completion of the bypass extension will open a new 100-mile, four-lane corridor between I-64 in southern Indiana and I-65 near Bowling Green with the summer 2011 opening of the new U.S. 231 in Spencer County, IN, the bypass extension and the existing Natcher Parkway.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Detroit and Economic Development

I spent the better part of the week in Detroit with several of my economic development colleagues from around Kentucky selling the Bluegrass state to companies in Michigan and Canada. While together with so many economic development pros who have made their life's work helping build and grow communities, we could not help being struck by many of the problems Detroit is experiencing. Let's be clear Detroit is not in an economic downturn, they are in a modern Great Depression of the magnitude of the 1930s.

I have visited several major cities in the past 18 months, no major city looks more beleaguered than Detroit. Nearly one million people have left since Detroit was at it's peak population mid-century. Detroit is the first major US city to see it's population drop below 1 million.

Not a single national grocery chain operates in City today. And perhaps the most recognizable informal measure of disposable income, Detroit has only four Starbucks in the city. By comparison, Owensboro currently has four Starbucks operations.

Mayor David Bing estimates that the real unemployment rate in Detroit is close to 50 percent, since so many have given up trying to find work. Just 10 percent of adults have a college degree, 30 percent are on food stamps. There are an estimated 62,000 vacant lots or uninhabited buildings, the total of which would occupy the entire city of Boston.

Two key development issues have plagued Detroit, both of them are a result of the automobile. The first has been their dependence on that single industry without significant diversification for decades. That dependence also lead the city adopt a development pattern based on the automobile, suburban sprawl. The development handicapped the urban core and created a major void in the center of the city. To crawl back, Detroit will need to focus more on it's center.

Detroit has also suffered because, in the current age of talent and innovation driven economy, their two world class universities are out in the hinterland to the east and west of the city. Pittsburgh was able to successfully reinvent itself from a rust belt steel town to a vibrant and hip city through it's focus on education and quality of place. It did so largely due to Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. Today, this poster child of a blue collar town is more known for it's innovative health care and computer science than it's steel.

Richard Florida in his latest book the Great Reset, highlighted many bright spots for the Greater Detroit region going forward. Despite the challenge of proximity, Michigan and Michigan State are world class universities and still home to some of the best engineers and designers in the automotive industry. The region is pinning much hope on this position as innovator in the automotive industry as it changes in the future.

The region is also looking to become a logistics center, with a truly world class airport--that recently captured a large share of jobs from Kentucky with the expanded Delta hub at DTW.

Finally, it is joining some other prominent cities, including Pittsburgh, in the "shrinking cities" movement, focusing it's future not on growth, but quality. Quality of place through redeveloping blighted properties and quality of education.

These are lessons we are focused on here in Owensboro-- quality of place, cultivating talent, industry diversification and redeveloping the center. Thankfully, despite our challenges, we are ahead of the game--especially compared to rust belt regions large and small like Detroit.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Owensboro participates in Kentucky United Economic Development Mission to Michigan and Canada

Through a partnership with KentuckyUnited, GO-EDC recently participated in a marketing mission to Michigan and Canada. The EDC joined with approximately 20 economic development professionals from throughout the Commonwealth and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to meet with site selectors and prospective companies in the Greater Detroit area, other parts of Michigan, northern Ohio, and Canada about the opportunities available in Kentucky, especially in the automotive parts supplier industry.

This is the first Marketing Mission KentuckyUnited has sponsored in the Greater Detroit area. The visits to over 35 companies and site selectors have increased the awareness of the state and given the EDC an opportunity to tell decision makers about Kentucky’s new incentive programs.

The meetings may result in several potential projects, some of which have a direct interest in Owensboro.

Over the next few weeks, GO-EDC will conduct further follow up marketing to these prospective companies and consultants.

Owensboro has a great story to tell and the EDC is committed to getting the word out to businesses on the opportunities available in this region!

For more information about KentuckyUnited visit

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Economic Gardening: Growing Jobs by Supporting Entrepreneurs and High Growth Firms

Economic gardening is a hot topic in economic development practice, and it is not just another passing fad. The idea originated in Littleton, Colorado over 20 years ago.

The program is based on the premise that economies are best grown internally by nurturing high growth firms. Economic gardening has seen a significant amount of success and gained national attention. Economic gardening programs have been implemented in numerous other communities, both large and small; urban and rural. The state of Florida has also adopted this concept as part of a statewide economic growth strategy.

Since 1987 the Littleton job base grew from 15,000 to over 30,000. Their sales tax base expanded from $6 million to over $20 million. In that time, the community has not recruited a single company or spent a penny on incentive packages.

The foundations of economic gardening as a new approach to economic development were built carefully using the best business and economic research and engaging many of the top minds working both in the business world and academia. At its core, economic gardening focuses on the idea that economies are driven by entrepreneurial growth.

From an economic development organization perspective, economic gardening uses three basic rules to support businesses in any given community: providing information, development of infrastructure supporting an entrepreneurial eco-system, and nurturing connections and networks that are critical to business success. In the focus on Stage II companies, the economic development organization must think and act differently in helping businesses use very sophisticated tools including the following:

database searches
geographic information systems
search engine optimization
web marketing
social media and research tools
network mapping

Economic gardening also focuses on front-end strategic issues of businesses, such as

core strategy
market dynamics
teamwork and human resources

Economic gardening is not a quick fix-- it is not a silver bullet. It is a long-term strategy. It is a lifestyle change rather than a fad diet.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

High Growth, Stage II Companies, Part II

In the previous blog, we looked at the importance of high growth, Stage II companies as the engines of job creation.

Stage II companies are among the most important in the economy. They are also among the most ignored. They are critical because they are powerhouses when it comes to job creation. Second stage companies are privately held enterprises that have 10 to 99 employees, annual revenues ranging from $1 million to $50 million, and the intent and capacity for further growth.

According to research by, in 1993-2007, second stage companies represented only 11.8 percent of all resident companies in the United States, but generated 34 percent of positive job growth. Second stagers also attract money. Venture funds and angel investors follow success. The more successful high growth companies in any given region, the more attractive the region will be to investors at all levels. They also make the region far more attractive to other companies, adding to a regional business attraction strategy by building up the region's existing business base.

Owensboro has built up an infrastructure to provide support for business startups through the eMerging Ventures program and provides services for existing businesses, so support for Stage II companies is a natural outgrowth of the two.

According to data on, the jobs in the Owensboro region created by Stage II companies has lagged behind the national pace since 2005 (0% of jobs in Daviess County compared to 24% nationally). This is a critical reason why the EDC is putting so much emphasis on support for Stage II companies through a program called "economic gardening."

NEXT: What does a Stage II Company program look like? We will review the successful "economic gardening" programs.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

High Growth Stage II Firms: the Key to Job Growth

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is embarking on a new strategy to focus on high growth Stage II companies. This blog by Dan Gundersen, Senior Advisor, published by the International Economic Development Council, offers a good overview as to why Stage II companies will be such an important focus in the new EDC Strategic Plan.

"What kinds of businesses create the most new jobs? Most likely, your answer is that small businesses create the most new jobs. Yes, they do – but historically, they also lose the most jobs.

The most important and overlooked concept in modern economic development is net new jobs – those jobs that remain once we subtract all the jobs lost when firms contract, migrate, and close. These net new jobs are overwhelmingly generated through the sustained profitable expansion of existing companies, also known as ‘high-growth' or Stage II firms.

You might respond that high-growth businesses are start-ups and small businesses, usually technology-based enterprises. They tend to be located in or near metropolitan areas to have access to transportation infrastructure, dense labor pools, and thick supplier and customer networks.

Question those assumptions

But here's a reality check: High-growth businesses are usually at least ten years old and have more than 50 employees; rarely are they start-ups or very small firms. Perhaps most surprising, they are much more likely to be found in traditional industries than in high-tech industry clusters.

Why? Nearly every industry segment has one or two dominant firms that provide the most competitive products and services, and thereby reap the lion's share of sales and profit growth, even during recessions. This success fuels extraordinary job creation.

These exceptional firms grow throughout the nation, regardless of local infrastructure or labor markets. They tend to hire new employees based more on drive and desire to grow with the firm than education level or current technical skill-sets. Many are owned and managed by minorities and women entrepreneurs. Their growth increases the equity of job creation because opportunities are widely shared across all demographic groups in our society.

The most comprehensive research of high-growth businesses in the nation was conducted recently in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When I was COO at the Department of Community and Economic Development, we sponsored early research to drill down on the factors for regional prosperity. Dr. Gary Kunkle led this massive effort to analyze the growth of more than half a million firms by integrating proprietary and non-proprietary databases over a multi-year period. It was hard, complex work conducted over several years, and included personal visits and surveys of CEOs at 600 high-growth firms.

The results showed that one percent of firms in the economy generated over 90 percent of the state's net new jobs. Every county with at least 10,000 residents had one or more high-growth businesses.

What do high-growth firms need?

Dr. Kunkle's work for Pennsylvania also found that exceptional growth causes challenges that transcend industry and location. CEOs of high-growth firms routinely struggle with common problems – such as funding expansion, developing management talent, and overcoming delays due to permitting processes. These difficulties slow growth and reduce long-term job creation.

High-growth business owners are simply too busy to seek public notice or assistance. In fact, they have surprisingly few places to turn for help. They typically avoid standard chamber networking events and are much more concerned with managing rapid growth than dialing for incentive dollars or pushing political buttons to advocate for tax cuts and credits. They are effectively 'under the radar' of most economic development efforts.

In an era when performance matters and jobs are scarce, the economic development profession must include efforts that focus on what works – fostering the green shoots of success that already exist. To advance the agenda of job creation, we must learn from and replicate the secrets of those businesses that produce 90 percent of the net new jobs in every community.

Sure, scouring data sets to understand growth trends and find high-growth firms can require technical skills and expertise, not unlike industry cluster analyses and other market studies. But once you identify these exceptional firms, you will then be in an excellent position to engage them. In time, you might realize that you can improve your effectiveness by modifying your organization's services and introducing new approaches to better help these and other firms sustain profitable job growth."

COMING NEXT: Why Owensboro needs to focus on Stage II firms, a look at the data.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Efforts to Revitalize Owensboro Getting Noticed

Veteran economic development consultant and expert Ed Morrison with the Purdue Center for Regional Development cited the rebuilding of Owensboro on his EDPro Blog that is a staple for economic development professionals and site selectors.

Morrison's entry from September 5 follows:

"Over the past two decades, Owensboro, Kentucky has quietly been putting itself on the map. An urban design firm, engaged in redesigning the Owensboro downtown, provides a look inside the process. Out of the decline of the past, Owensboro has been designing around a new narrative:

The slow death of the Executive Inn ushered in a new era of culture in Owensboro with a nationally recognized symphony, an “off-Broadway” River Park Performing Arts Center, and a new reputation for festivals including the nationally recognized Mystery Writers’ Festival.

If you work in a smaller city and are looking for a good model to follow, put Owensboro on your list to visit."

Visit the EDPro Blog by clicking here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

EDC releases New Economic Development Strategy

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation released its vision to guide the economic growth of the region over the next five years.

The GO-EDC Board kicked off the 2010-2015 Strategic Planning process in June 2010 with meetings that included community leaders, elected officials and candidates, investors, and stakeholder groups. The EDC also hosted two public input sessions and distributed a survey online and through its Facebook site to solicit public comment and feedback.

The plan developed is well researched, more comprehensive, and involved a greater level of public input and participation that any other in the history of the organization. Based on the evaluation of data, public input and feedback gathered, the strategy will consist of a three pronged emphasis focusing on the following:

TALENT- Developing, Attracting, and Retaining Talent

INDUSTRY AND INNOVATION- Providing Support for Existing and Emerging Industry Clusters

PLACE- Creating a Quality of Place that Meets the Needs of Current and Future Residents

The following are five key highlights of the new plan.

1. Existing Industry will remain a high priority. Most jobs created in any given region come from existing employers. We have been successful in retaining jobs, particularly compared to peer regions and the rest of the country. We will continue to focus on supporting our existing employers to help them grow and prosper in our region. .

2. Continue efforts to target and recruit industry. EDC has been a partner with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and other Kentucky communities in a program called Kentucky United. EDC will participate in at least two trade missions this year, including a visit to Detroit later this month to meet with companies in Michigan interested in potentially relocating to Kentucky. These efforts will also include a continuation of our partnership in Hancock County and the potential new industrial site along the river.

3. EDC will continue to build on the work done in the 2006 Strategic Plan to promote innovation, technology based company development and entrepreneurship. These efforts will continue support for Kentucky BioProcessing and the Centre for Business and Research. A new aspect of this work will include support for Stage II Companies, growing companies that create a majority of the jobs in the national economy, but create very few jobs in the region.

4. The EDC will focus on two new initiatives dealing with talent attraction and workforce development. The first is "Owensboro U," an effort in conjunction with local colleges to market Owensboro as a college town with college town amenities. The second is workforce aligned high school programs, which will create joint programs in the life sciences, manufacturing, health care and other areas with available jobs in the coming years.

5. Continue to focus on quality of place amenities such as those being developed as part of the downtown plan. Much of this work will focus on developing a research corridor between the Carnegie Village area and the OMHS Parrish Ave site. The plan also suggests a comprehensive master plan for the newly developing I-64/ I-65 corridor where the new OMHS campus will be located.

To read more about the EDC Strategic Plan please visit:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New jobs expected to go to the highly skilled

By Christopher S. Rugaber and Michael Liedtke, Associated Press
Published: Monday, September 6, 2010 12:05 AM CDT

Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay -- or none at all.

Job creation will likely remain weak for months or even years. But once employers do step up hiring, some economists expect job openings to fall mainly into two categories of roughly equal numbers:

* Professional fields with higher pay. Think lawyers, research scientists and software engineers.

* Lower-skill and lower-paying jobs, like home health care aides and store clerks.

And those in between? Their outlook is bleaker. Economists foresee fewer moderately paid factory supervisors, postal workers and office administrators.

That's the sobering message American workers face as they celebrate Labor Day at a time of high unemployment, scant hiring and a widespread loss of job security. Not until 2014 or later is the nation expected to have regained all, or nearly all, the 8.4 million jobs lost to the recession. Millions of lost jobs in real estate, for example, aren't likely to be restored this decade, if ever.

On Friday, the government said the August unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6 percent. Not enough jobs were created to absorb the growing number of people seeking work. The unemployment rate has exceeded 9 percent for 16 months, the longest such stretch in nearly 30 years.

The crisis poses a threat to President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, whose hold on the House and Senate appears to be at increasing risk because of voter discontent.

Even when the job market picks up, many people will be left behind. The threat stems, in part, from the economy's continuing shift from one driven by manufacturing to one fueled by service industries.

Pay for future service-sector jobs will tend to vary from very high to very low. At the same time, the number of middle-income service-sector jobs will shrink, according to government projections. Any job that can be automated or outsourced overseas is likely to continue to decline.

The service sector's growth could also magnify the nation's income inequality, with more people either affluent or financially squeezed. The nation isn't educating enough people for the higher-skilled service-sector jobs of the future, economists warn.

"There will be jobs," says Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist. "The big question is what they are going to pay, and what kind of lives they will allow people to lead? This will be a big issue for how broad a middle class we are going to have."

On one point there's broad agreement: Of 8 million-plus jobs lost to the recession -- in fields like manufacturing, real estate and financial services -- many, perhaps most, aren't coming back.

In their place will be jobs in health care, information technology and statistical analysis. Some of the new positions will require complex skills or higher education. Others won't -- but they won't pay very much, either.

"Our occupational structure is really becoming bifurcated," says Richard Florida, a professor at University of Toronto. "We're becoming more of a divided nation by the work we do."

By 2018, the government forecasts a net total of 15.3 million new jobs. If that proves true, unemployment would drop far closer to a historical norm of 5 percent.

Nearly all the new jobs will be in the service sector, the Labor Department says. The nation's 78 million baby boomers will need more health care services as they age, for example. Demand for medical jobs will rise. And innovations in high technology and alternative energy are likely to spur growth in occupations that don't yet exist.

Hiring can't come fast enough for the 14.9 million unemployed Americans. Counting part-time employees who would prefer full-time jobs, plus out-of-work people who have stopped looking for jobs, the number of "underemployed" is 26.2 million.

Manufacturing has shed 2 million jobs since the recession began. Construction has lost 1.9 million, financial services 651,000.

But the biggest factor has been the bust in real estate. The vanished jobs range from construction workers and furniture makers to loan officers, appraisers and material suppliers. Moody's Analytics estimates the total number of housing-related jobs lost at 2.4 million. When you include commercial real estate, the number is far higher.

One of them is Martha Escobar, who last month lost her $13.50-an-hour job cleaning an office tower owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Century City, Calif. She was one of 16 janitors, mostly single mothers, who lost jobs as part of the real estate crunch that's squeezed landlords.

Some of them traveled to New York on Thursday to try to pressure JPMorgan to get its cleaning contractor to take them back, given that the bank earned $8.1 billion during the first half of this year.

"I don't know what I am going to do if I can't get my job back," Escobar, 41, said.

JPMorgan Chase spokesman Gary Kishner said the bank has no say over the layoffs, which he said are handled by the building's cleaning contractor.

On top of real estate-related job losses, manufacturing is likely to keep shedding jobs, sending lower-skilled work overseas. Millions who worked in those fields will need to find jobs in higher-skilled or lower-paying occupations.

"The big fear is the country is simply not preparing workers for the kind of skills that the country is going to need," says Gautam Godhwani, CEO of, which tracks job listings.

These sectors likely to grow fastest, according to economists and government projections:


The sector is expected to be the leading job generator, adding 4 million by 2018, according to Labor Department data. An aging population requires more doctors and nurses, physical therapists, home health aides and pharmacists.

Many of these jobs will pay well. Physical therapists averaged about $76,000 last year, according to the department's data. Others pay far less. Home health care aides earned an average of just $21,600.

Home health care and personal care aides are expected to add about 900,000 jobs by 2018 -- 50 percent more than in 2008.

Jennifer Gamboa of Body Dynamics Inc., an Arlington, Va.-based physical therapy firm, says the drive to reduce health care costs should benefit her profession, which can treat pain less expensively than surgery. Gamboa plans to add two employees in the next year.

* INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Technology could be an economic elixir as computers and online networks expand ways to automate services, distribute media and communicate.

Companies will need people to build and secure those networks. That should boost the number of programmers, network administrators and security specialists by 45 percent to 2.1 million by 2018, the government forecasts. Most of these jobs will provide above-average pay.

Technology pay averaged $84,400 in 2008 -- nearly double the average private-sector pay of $45,400, according to an analysis of the most recent full-year data by the TechAmerica Foundation, a research group.

* NEW INDUSTRIES: Deepak Advani, an IBM executive, has a title he says didn't exist five years ago: "Vice president of predictive analytics."

Companies and government agencies have amassed data on behavior ranging from shopping habits to criminal activity. Predictive analytics is the art of determining what to do with that data. How should workers' time be deployed? How best to target customers? Such jobs could grow 20 percent by 2018, the government predicts.

Still, economists say more will be needed to boost job growth. The answer may be some technological breakthrough akin to the personal computer or the Internet.

"Most big booms come from a particular sector that moves the rest of the economy," said Richard Freeman, a Harvard labor economist.

Technology spurred job growth after the 1982 and 1991 recessions. The PC became revolutionary in the early 1980s. Internet use exploded after the Mosaic Web browser was introduced in 1994. Housing eventually lifted employment after the 2001 dot-com bust.

"There's a lack of clarity on what the next big thing is going to be this time," said David Card, an economics professor at the University of California.

Until there is, many people will have to lower expectations and living standards as they enter fields with less pay and less job stability, said Dan Finnigan, CEO of online employment service Jobvite.

"People who are unemployed have to embrace this future that they are going to have many jobs," he said. "We will always be working on the next gig."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Security Bank Expands Its Owensboro Headquarters, Adds 25 Jobs

Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company and community officials in Owensboro to announce the expansion of First Security Bank of Owensboro’s headquarters operation. The project will entail the creation of 25 new full-time financial sector jobs and a capital investment of nearly $4.3 million in the Commonwealth.

“The expansion of First Security Bank of Owensboro’s headquarters operation is yet another positive example of Owensboro’s recent growth in the financial sector,” said Gov. Beshear. “The addition of 25 new full-time jobs and a near $4.3 million investment will provide a significant boost to the local economy. We are pleased to partner with First Security Bank to make this expansion possible.”

The expansion is the result of First Security Bank’s recent purchase of five banking offices of Integra Bank, an Indiana-based financial institution. The bank plans to relocate its current headquarters operation into a new facility, located at 313 Frederica Street, which will result in more than double the amount of space dedicated to the company’s growth.

“We believe our recent branch acquisition represents the first of many good things to come for First Security Bank,” said M. Lynn Cooper, president and CEO of First Security Bank. “We are excited to receive the state and community support in our efforts to grow our franchise. We need additional space to take care of our rapid growth and this building purchase and expansion will provide a long-term strategic answer to our space needs. Additionally, we are committed to assisting Owensboro in its downtown growth initiative and felt we can best do so by remaining in Owensboro, Kentucky, and specifically downtown, thus creating new jobs and enhanced facilities to better serve our customers.”

First Security Bank of Owensboro’s expansion was encouraged by the approval of state tax incentives up to $250,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program (KBI). The performance-based incentive, which was approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, can be earned by First Security Bank over a 10-year period through wage assessments.

“Construction of the First Security Bank Corporate Headquarters in Owensboro is great news for the economy and the revitalization efforts of our downtown,” said Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. “We are pleased to once again be working with Gov. Beshear to bring more jobs to the city of Owensboro.”

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